Bears Open 2008 Season At Home Against Lehigh
Feb. 20, 2008
Providence, RI - Brown Opens its 60th season of intercollegiate lacrosse on Saturday, February 23, hosting Lehigh at Meister-Kavan Field, beginning at 2:00 p.m.
After a turn-around season where the Bears posted a 7-7 overall mark, Brown coach Lars Tiffany has high hopes for his team to take the next step and continue making progress on the Ivy League and national levels.
Armed with the return of five starters and 25 lettermen to the lineup, Tiffany's 2008 squad will be led by a trio of senior captains, midfielders Brian Asher and Jeff Hall, and defenseman Brian Sharnick. Tiffany's overall philosophy of keeping his team fresh throughout the season by playing virtually every available field player in most games should translate into a more experienced and game-tested squad, and lead to victories on the playing field.
"A new year and new challenges," said Tiffany. "Our opponents have improved, and the men of this program know there is much work to be done. The time is now to define ourselves and Brown lacrosse. We look to expand on the fearless and resilient qualities earned in 2007."
Leading the Brown attack will be sophomore Thomas Muldoon, the Bears' top scorer last season with 32 points (23 goals, 9 assists). Muldoon started 13 of 14 games for the Bears and scored a career-high four goals against Penn, and three goals against Hofstra, Harvard and Hartford. Junior Kyle Hollingsworth played a big role for last year's squad, and was Brown's third leading scorer with 24 points (15 goals, 9 assists). A strong dodger, Hollingsworth netted two goals in seven different games and handed out three assists against Harvard and Hartford.
Joining Muldoon and Hollingsworth on the attack is junior Jack Walsh, who started 12 of 14 games, netting 11 goals and distributing 11 assists. An aggressive dodger, Walsh isn't afraid to mix it up, leading the Bears with 34 ground balls, including seven against Notre Dame.
Tiffany also expects major contributions from sophomore Collins Carey and freshman Andrew Feinberg to the Bears' attack. Carey (1 goal) and Feinberg are coming off a solid fall, where they each caught the eye of Tiffany. Also contributing to the attack will be freshman Patrick Curtin and junior Conor Larkin.
The Bears' midfield could make the difference in the success of this year's team with senior Jeff Hall, sophomore Matt Shakespeare and junior Reade Seligmann looking to run in the first midfield. Hall scored four goals in two starts for last year's team, and is a fierce competitor. Shakespeare, who played in seven games a year ago, made great strides in the weight room and has enhanced his quickness in the off-season, and is ready to create a tempest on the field. Seligmann, a transfer from Duke, will provide speed and, at 6-1, 230, will present a powerful size mismatch for opponents as a two-way middie.
Sophomore Zach Caldwell earned five starts in the Bears' midfield a year ago, and is Brown's fifth top returning scorer with nine goals and two assists. He turned in a big performance in Brown's win over Yale, netting five goals. Junior Nic Bell, who will also face-off for the Bears, returns after contributing to the midfield a year ago, as does sophomore Brady Williams, who hopes to quarterback the Bears' midfield after seeing action in nine games last season. Tiffany also expects freshman Teddy Daiber to contribute immediately after a solid fall season.
At defensive midfield, Tiffany will look to Asher, senior Mike Cummins and sophomore Jake Hardy. Asher contributed four assists and was a major contributor in all 14 games last year. A defensive middie a year ago, Asher will also look to develop his offensive skills. Cummins had a goal and an assist in 2007, and was known for his jarring hits. Hardy saw considerable action last season and is a rangy long-stick checker.
Also vying for playing time in the midfield is senior Nate O'Dell, juniors Phil Thebault and Joel Tracy, sophomores Harrison Avart, Charlie Kenney, Jason Pohanka, and freshmen Jeffery Foote, Rory MacLellan and Jimmy Wittpenn.
The backbone of the Bears' defense is junior goalie Jordan Burke, an All-Ivy and All-New England selection a year ago. Burke lead the Ivy League in saves per game (13.0), including 14.67 saves per game in Ivy games. He ranked second in the nation in save percentage (.621), while posting an 8.16 goals against average. Burke made a career high 21 saves in a four-overtime game against Dartmouth, and made 20 saves against Vermont.
Backing-up Burke in goal will be freshman Matt Chriss, who had a very impressive fall and start to his career at Brown.
Two of three starters return to the Bears' defense, including Sharnick, who started all 14 games, and senior Reed Deluca, who made 10 starts. Sharnick is one of the top one-on-one defenders in the Ivy League, always matching up with the opponents' top attackman. Deluca is one of the smartest defenders on the Brown squad and finished the fall as the top defender on the depth chart. Sophomore Michael Miller will move from long-stick to close defense after a tremendous fall season.
Sophomore Jake Westermann is also expected to see action for the Bears' close defense, while freshman Peter Fallon was also a contributor in the fall. Junior Todd Faiella, Brown's back-up goalie a year ago, has switched positions and will look to contribute to the Bears' defense. Also vying for playing time will be junior Ryan Cassil, sophomore Cole Erickson, and freshmen Matt Greenburg and Joe Orloff.
Tiffany will be looking to improve his team in the face-off X, with Bell, Kenney, Wittpenn, Avart, and Tracy leading the way. Bell won 42 of 112 face-offs, while picking up 29 ground balls. Tracy took 23 face-offs a year ago, and Kenney captured 50 of 119 face-offs.